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LCQ20: Impact of the New Senior Secondary academic structure on Vocational Training Council

     Following is a question by the Hon Cheung Man-kwong and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (December 10):


     Regarding the Vocational Training Council (VTC) and the impact of the New Senior Secondary (NSS) academic structure to be implemented next year on VTC's member institutions, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the respective numbers of places, students and graduates of the programmes offered by each member institution of VTC in the past three years;

(b) of the number of teaching staff and other staff of VTC and each of its member institutions, with a breakdown by mode of employment (e.g. appointment on pensionable terms, contract terms or temporary contract terms);

(c) of the teacher-and-students ratio of each VTC's member institution in the past three years, and how such figures compare with those of other post-secondary institutions in Hong Kong;

(d) whether it has assessed if the implementation of the NSS
academic structure will have any impact on the student enrolment of the various member institutions of VTC and the programmes they offer as well as on the revenues generated from the tuition fees (including whether or not the Youth College, which specialises in offering full time courses for school-leavers from Secondary Three to Secondary Five, will be unable to operate as a result of the drastic decrease in the number of secondary school-leavers); if it is assessed to have impact, of the details of such impact on each member institution; if it is assessed otherwise, the reasons for that;

(e) as there will be a drastic decrease in the number of student enrolment of VTC's member institutions as a result of the absence of Secondary Five school-leavers in the 2011-2012 school year and hereafter due to the implementation of the NSS academic structure, whether the authorities will adjust downward the amount of funding provided to VTC; if they will, of the amount involved and the method of calculation; if not,whether the authorities will undertake not to reduce the amount of funding provided to VTC when implementing the NSS academic structure, so as to allow VTC to restructure its programmes and enhance the quality of the programmes, as well as minimising the impact on staff; and

(f) of the amount of additional resources the authorities will provide to VTC and the University Grants Committee-funded institutions respectively (including the additional funding required to increase the number of teaching staff and infrastructural facilities, as well as funding for other projects) to cater for the needs arising from the implementation of the new academic structure?



(a) Information on the full-time programmes provided by the member institutions of VTC in the past three years is at Table 1.

(b) In the 2007/08 academic year, the number of different types of VTC staff, with a breakdown by mode of employment, is at Table 2.

(c) VTC shares its resources among its member institutions in many aspects. Being employees of VTC, teaching staff may be deployed to different units depending on operational needs. In the past three years, the student-to-teacher ratios of IVE, SBI, Youth College and T&DC are as follows:

     2005/06         2006/07        2007/08
  academic year   academic year   academic year
     20.3:1          20.3:1          21.1:1

     Member institutions of VTC provide a wide range of pre-employment and in-service training programmes suitable for S3, S5 and S7 school leavers, leading to certificates, diplomas and higher diplomas.  Since other local post-secondary institutions mainly provide programmes at sub-degree level or above, it is not appropriate to compare VTC¡¦s statistics with other post-secondary institutions.

(d) VTC anticipates that the implementation of the New Senior
Secondary (NSS) academic structure will not have any significant impact on the overall enrolment and the revenues generated from the tuition fees of its programmes.

     In the 2007/08 academic year, VTC had an intake of about 22 600 full-time students, among which 3 350 were S3 school leavers, 16 800 were S5 school leavers and 2 250 were S7 school leavers, constituting about 4%, 21% and 8% of S3, S5 and S7 graduates of the year respectively.

     VTC has drawn up an Eight-year Strategic Plan for 2009/10 to 2016/17, proposing a number of new initiatives in response to socio-economic developments and manpower needs in line with the Government¡¦s education and training policy, including in particular changes to be made under the NSS academic structure.  Starting from the 2012/13 academic year, VTC will replace its existing two-year and three-year Higher Diploma programmes for S7 and S5 school leavers respectively by two-year five-semester Higher Diploma programmes for SS3 graduates to prepare the latter for employment as well as further studies.  Furthermore, VTC will provide programmes for SS3 school leavers who perform less well to equip them for employment and articulation to further studies.  At the same time, VTC will rationalise its existing post-S3 programmes and introduce a new Diploma in Vocational Education with multiple entries and exits as an alternative avenue for S3, SS1 and SS2 students to pursue further studies outside mainstream education.  Presented with these diverse choices, students can enrol in vocational education and training programmes that suit their interests and employment and learning needs.  VTC will also step up its Applied Learning programmes to support the rich and diversified curriculum under the NSS academic structure and will expand the Vocational Development Programme (VDP) for non-engaged youths to help them continue their education or seek employment.

     Through the above initiatives and measures, VTC anticipates that, starting from the 2013/14 academic year, annual intakes for the new Higher Diploma programmes will account for about 26% of all SS3 graduates.  VTC will also provide programmes for about 2% of S3, SS1 and SS2 school leavers.  It also plans to provide several thousand new places in its Applied Learning, VDP and other pre-employment training programmes.  Overall, VTC will provide about 52 000 pre-employment education and training places under the NSS academic structure, similar to its existing provision.

(e) Since there will be no S5 graduates in the 2011/12 academic year and the first batch of SS3 graduates will not graduate until the subsequent year, i.e. the 2012/13 academic year, VTC anticipates that the overall intake will decrease in the 2011/12 academic year, giving rise to excess staff temporarily.  VTC has already drawn up a number of contingency measures, including the deployment of staff to develop teaching materials for the new Higher Diploma curriculum; allowing flexibility in the accumulation of leave by staff for taking sabbatical leave during the 2011/12 academic year; and making arrangements for staff development and continuing education, industrial attachment and participation in activities of the secondary school curriculum, etc.  Furthermore, VTC plans to introduce a voluntary retirement scheme for its staff.

     The anticipated drop in the intake of the 2011/12 academic year is only transient.  Accordingly, to maintain the continued stability and high standard of vocational education and training services provided by VTC, the Government will do its best to ensure that the service quality of VTC is not adversely affected when determining its level of funding.

(f) The Government has provided VTC with $19.5 million for the development and implementation of the new curriculum structure to align with the NSS development.  As regards the University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded institutions, with the introduction of the NSS academic structure, their three-year undergraduate programmes will be replaced by four-year ones.  Through UGC, the Government will provide the institutions with about $700 million for curriculum development and upgrading of related information systems.  The Government has also earmarked about $5.9 billion for the expansion of campus space and facilities to accommodate the additional students under the new four-year undergraduate programmes and to alleviate the present space shortage. The Government will also increase the recurrent funding to the UGC-funded institutions in the next triennium on a need basis.

Ends/Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Issued at HKT 16:36


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